By Jo Sellers at Pippin Pets Dog Training
Christmas is the time for luxury foods, noise, guests, presents and chaos. For our dogs, this can be a time for unsettled routines, temptation and over-excitement or fear.
To give your dog the best chance over the festive period, here are my top tips to help your pets:
Food – many of our favourites are toxic to dogs – alcohol, onions/leeks in our dinners, the salt in our gravy, chocolate in presents and on the tree, and some nuts. Makes sure all plates are kept off the floor and away from the dogs so no scavenging can happen. Make a note of which vets may be offering an emergency service but hopefully you won’t need it.
Long lunch – to keep your pup happier whilst you tuck into your turkey, prepare a feeder toy such as a West Paw Toppl, stuff it full of your dog’s favourite foods, freeze it and then give it to your dog at lunchtime too. Or a super long lasting chew (no rawhide).
Tree decorations – avoid putting chocolate decorations on the tree, and if you can, section off/put a barrier around the tree to keep your dog away. An opened up exercise pen is ideal for this.
Presents – All those smells! Your dog will go looking. Avoid placing down any presents in advance that may contain food. If receiving packages in advance, ask if there is any foodstuff/chocolate in there, and if so, store them safely until the big day.
Visitors at your house – makes sure your dog has a quiet area where they cannot be disturbed, and take them there to rest regularly in the day. Try and keep to their routine as much as you can. Put a stairgate across the door (the DogG8 fits to the door but stores really flat when unlocked) so that your dog cannot escape should visitors leave the door open. Make sure they are wearing a collar and ID tag just in case they do run off – that way you are more likely to be reunited quickly.
Going to visit others? – take your dog’s bed, favourite toys, food bowl so that there are familiar things in the strange home, and again try and keep to your regular routine. Keep your dog on a harness and longer lead if you are walking in an unfamiliar area so that they cannot get lost.
Fireworks – with the stresses of the noise and bustle of Christmas, many dogs then struggle with fireworks. Make a safe place for them to hide, or snuggle to you, turn up your tv and if they are really bad, speak to your vets now so that you can get medical help in advance to help soothe your dog’s nerves.
Finally, enjoy it! Your pup may love ripping open their presents and seeing what delights you have brought them, or helping the kids with their presents! Other gifts will be tempting for your dog and to keep everyone happy, make sure precious new toys or small parts are kept off the floor away from the dog.
Whatever you are doing this Christmas, just enjoy the time with your wonderful 4 legged friend.
Relocating to London and other parts of the UK is not easy. Demand is high for rental properties and stock levels are low. You talk to some estate agents, and they are down to the last few properties. This article from Sky news, highlights the extreme competition. It is very much a landlord’s market with some even refusing to do any work to a property between tenancies. They know someone will just take it as is. Why incur extra costs.
By the time a property is on a portal, there are so many rushing to do a viewing. Some people offer on a rental by just seeing a video. Sometimes, the property is on for a few hours before it goes to sealed bids.
I have been in London property for over 25 years advising clients on buying, selling and finding rentals. With Pets Lets, letting to people with pets is my line of expertise. During that time, I have got to know a lot of estate agents. One senior agent said to me recently, ‘I have never seen such a ‘crazy’ market in all my time in the property industry’. That sums it up.
It has got to the point, if you ‘blink’, miss the estate agents call as you were in a meeting, the property is gone. The portals are great, but you have to move quickly. Some properties just don’t make the portals. Why wait for the photography when you have the keys when you know you have a backlog of potential tenants.
A tip when talking to property professionals; if the property has been let, ask what else is in the ‘pipeline’ / coming on to the market. Try and get ahead of the competition.
Tenant demand in the UK and London is the highest it has been since records began in 2011. The number of people seeking privately rented homes has grown consistently throughout the course of the Covid pandemic. For every property there are on average 11 potential tenants.
Rental stock is down 38% compared to last year and estate agents ae down to their last properties.
In Q1 of 2022, 62% of landlords reported a big increase in tenant demand, compared to only 16% of landlords in Q1 of 2020. This article from The Negotiator outlines the big changes in the private rental sector.
An interesting article outlining Why the UK rental market is in chaos, which describes it as a ‘pressure cooker’. The UK rental market was already extremely competitive. Now you have people who can no longer buy with the current mortgage market and having to rent. In London, listing are receiving on average over 80 enquiries, up from 16 enquiries in September 2019. There are so many people looking for a rental property, that some agents just don’t list them on the property portals.
At Pets Lets, we specialise in finding pet friendly rentals for clients. The majority of people are looking to move to London. Some are relocating from the US with their dogs and cats as well as from Canada, South Africa amongst other countries. The common theme amongst our clients, is they cannot believe how difficult it is to find pet friendly accommodation.
A growing trend amongst younger generations is to rent with their pet whilst studying. For example, we find a lot of pet friendly students have house cats or small dogs.
We have witnessed many sealed bids with some people putting in huge offers over the asking price. How do people compete, you can’t.
Also, landlords are giving notice to tenants to get a new one it at a higher rent. There is a lack of ‘loyalty’ and tenants are pushing up prices. Even some estate agents put properties on higher prices, just to test the market. When they achieve those prices, the rental level is pushed up even more in the area.
The London estate agent says the rental market is really busy. Properties are going in hours. As a tenant you think, a normal ‘pushy’ agent call. Yet this a big decision, which you need to think about, yet you don’t have the time too. Offer or lose out. These are unfortunately the challenges you face when looking to rent in the UK with or without a dog or a cat.
Finding a UK rental property for you and your dog is not easy in a competitive market where landlords still [do not have to accept pets]( https://metro.co.uk/2021/10/11/do-landlords- have-to-accept-pets-15382980/). This is sadly despite the proposed Pet Protection Bill. At Pets Lets, we specialise in finding pet friendly properties in London, The Home Counties as well as other parts of the UK for clients with pets as part of our Pet Friendly Relocation Service. When you are up against other tenants without pets, you are not as appealing to a landlord. In an ideal world, you need an estate agent who is a sympathetic dog owner, who will put a string case forward for you. That is what we do for our clients.
In January 2021, The UK Government released figures of only 7% of Landlords accepting pets. An incredible statistic considering there was a 120% increase in the number of UK pet owners over lockdown.
You don’t have to be good at maths to realise that the figures do not work with 7% of landlords saying yes to pets versus 50% of the population owning a pet. Over 3.2m pets were bought over lockdown according to an article from the BBC. That is a sharp increase in UK pet ownership, with little change in the pet friendly rental sector.
We all know that Renting with dogs is an issue. However, did you know that the same rules apply in blocks and leasehold properties if you buy the property with your pet? There really is no difference. No pets clauses in buildings apply regardless of whether you are renting in the building or own the property.
When pets are allowed in a building or you own the freehold, then it is the discretion of the landlord whether they will rent to people with pets. That is a different matter and is a personal decision. We come across dog owners, who sympathise with fellow dog owners, yet when it comes to their own rental properties they say no to pets.
At Pets Lets, we look at it from pets & mortar basis. Finding a home for all the family.
Some landlords have had some poor experiences with pet owners. Other see owners not picking up after their dogs. All of this gives a bad impression and you can understand their concerns. On the other hand, Landlords tend to agree that pet owners are mainly responsible, and it is only the few that let pet owners down. Taking on a tenant is a ‘lottery’. Reference checks will not tell you about people’s behavioural patterns. In fact, you will know more about the behavioural patterns of a dog. Older dogs will sleep most of the day. Puppies need some exercise and proper training.
My advice to landlords is take it on a case by case basis. Pet owners, take you dog on a viewing, especially if the landlord will be present. Show them the reality that your dog is well behaved.
Like all things it does take time. However, the ‘poodemic’ with irresponsible pet owners is really affecting those who care and just want a home that will allow their pets. If you see someone ignoring their dog doing its business and they walk on, for the sake of other pet owners, hand them a poo bag and ask them to clean it up.